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Motorcycle Saddle Bags: Get ’em Hard or Soft

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Motorbike Saddle Bags

EASIEST WAY TO INCREASE YOUR LUGGAGE CAPACITY

MOTORCYCLE SADDLE BAGS represent the easiest way to significantly increase your motorbike storage capacity. They are also a great gift idea if you want to encourage someone special to take you away for a weekend motorcycle adventure.

NOTE: TANK BAGS are actually even easier to add and remove to and from your bike, but most tank bags do not have anywhere near the storage capacity of saddle bags.

If your bike did not come with saddlebags (and most motorcycles do not come equipped with saddlebags), then, at some point or another, you will probably consider your options for additional storage space – especially if you want to take a trip!

TWO MAIN TYPES OF SADDLE BAGS

Most saddlebags can be broken down into two broad categories:

  1. Hard bags
  2. Soft bags

HARD SADDLE BAGS

Their names are pretty self-explanatory.  Generally speaking, hard bags are more water resistant and more likely to maintain their general look over time, given minimal maintenance, such as washing them when you wash your bike.  Furthermore, hard bags are more secure than most soft bags, as most come with locking covers and many can even be locked to your motorcycle.  However, hard bags require special hardware that needs to be attached to your bike, which hold the bags themselves.  Hence, hard bags are also usually more expensive.

If you are interested in hard bags, you will want to be sure to get mounting hardware specific for your motorcycle!

SOFT SADDLE BAGS

Soft bags, whether they are made of leather or textile, may be water resistant, but are less likely to hold up to an all-day ride through bad weather in the same way hard bags would.  However, soft bags are lighter, certainly more flexible, and are, generally speaking, less expensive than hard bags.  Most soft bags require no special mounting hardware, although there are some exceptions.  They also need more care and attention to keep them looking good.

As a bit of a twist, there are some hard bags that are made to look like soft bags, since, particularly for some cruiser riders, soft bags might be considered more stylish. In other words, you can get the look of leather saddlebags and have the security of hard bags.

Also, if you’re thinking soft bags might be more convenient than hard bags in terms of grabbing them and carrying them into a motel/hotel while on a trip, well, you may or may not be correct.  Most hard bags can be unlocked and readily detached to be carried, like luggage.  On the other hand, it’s not unusual to use a liner for hard bags, which can be more readily removed, without unlocking the hard bags from your bike.  It may not sound like a big deal, but when you’re on the road, and you’ve just put on a lot of miles, being able to quickly unpack can be a great advantage.  Additionally, when it comes time to pack things and hit the road again the next morning, it’s easier to toss those liners into your hard bags than to re-secure the soft bags. Of course liners can also be used for soft bags, if you have a type that is not meant to be readily removed.

EITHER TYPE OF SADDLE BAGS INCREASE WHAT YOU CAN CARRY

Regardless, either hard bags or soft bags are both the best ways to increase your motorcycle storage space.

Except, that is, if you happen to have a chase van traveling along with you that is carrying everything you could take if you were taking a truck.  And whether that truly represents a real motorcycle touring experience … well … I’ll leave that up to you to determine.

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